Elder Lunt

Երեց Brian Lunt
Եկեղեցին Հիսուս Քրիստոսի Վերջին Օրերի Սրբերի

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Week 32

Hello everyone, It was good to talk to all of you and hear your voices. It was an interesting experience, one that I couldn't put my finger on until the next day. After wards I felt something had changed. I just felt so different from you guys, its almost a betraying feeling but I realize its what I've been praying for, to not dwell on home or family. Its a hard feeling to explain and not sure if its what I wanted but I will explain it in person after my mission. Its something that I wrote about quite a bit in my journal, I would like my family to read when I get home. As for Skype I am also bummed david didn't come, I am not sure whats going on with him but I just let him know that I love him. I dont know why he didnt come but hes a good guy and I am sure he had his reasons for intentionally not coming.  

Well this week has been a week full of lots of hardships and miracles. I am so close to so many of these people and my love for them is indescribable. We were blessed with a baptism, her name is hikeanush, shes so smart and such a leader, very elect lady, I have no doubt that when the church grows in Alaverdi that she will be one of the leaders behind the growth, if the elders after me take good care of her. I wanted Elder Burt to baptize her but its always their choice and she said in front of him that she wanted me to because I talk and am her elder. Although that was nice of her. I am concerned for E Burt. This whole transfer has been exhausting,teaching him, worry about him , helping him. Its all been focused on him and he just is barley realizing that. He hasn't been happy and I can see his quiet discontent and frustration of not giving his full heart and mind to these people. I have talked to him a lot about this and tryed to help him but I am not sure he really listens to me anymore. And this whole transfer I have been carrying the communication and it is absolutely exhausting. He doesn't talk and its hard because I have to fish his bad feelings and unhappiness out of him so it doesn't affect the work, but its been happening more and more. The Armenians aren't as sensitive to his social awkwardness as we are and they call it out all the time. It makes me feel really bad for him, but I cant make him do anything against his will and neither can the lord. I also gave him quite a bit of responsibility this last few Sundays and this Sunday and its been way hard for him. I cant confidently say that he would be emotionally and socially ready for training and group leader, but I know if that's what the lord calls him to do that that is what will happen, and that I am confident in. I don't want to end the transfer on a bad note or the "bite the bullet" of waiting it out. I want to leave ( if I leave) knowing that we left off on a good note and that we helped each other out. I will still try to talk to him and work things out but as always actions speak louder than words and I plan on serving him at every opportunity. Hes a good missionary with a good heart and I love him, I don't think he realizes how much I try to help him and pray for him and all the things I do for him, until he trains. Just like I will never know all the time you spent on your knees, sleepless nights and thoughts centered on me, until I become a parent.

 I am so blessed to be in this area, it will always have a special place in my heart. I have never been happier in my life, if only you guys knew... Well this week was full of many miracles. And we were out of our area for 2 days and we had a split so it was to hard reach our full potential through but with hard work through the lord we saw many of the miracles. We were blessed with baptism this week. And so many lessons I have felt the spirit so strong and I just feel so powerful with the spirit. It makes you feel unstoppable, and you can promise so many neat things. There have been so many inspired things that have come out of my mouth but that I didn't say, this happens daily. I love you guys so much and will share some of my goals with you next week for the next transfer and some long term goals. I love you all and want to say three things I have that will change your life if applied, just as they have changed my life. I want to say again that my hope is that we can "Maintain the simplicity in Christ" I said that over Skype but the connection was bad. Many people think that the gospel is so complicated but as I teach the basics of the gospel daily, I realize its the basic gospel principles through the spirit that bring conversion which brings happiness, joy, peace of mind and every other quality of light. If we do what we are suppose to we are happy. We are blessed, we are confident because we are worthy to receive the Lord's help and guidance. My hope is that we will remember these things and let them change us as we give everything to the Lord. The last two commitments are talks from my brother in law (Jake) that have changed my mission and my life. I try to read them monthly. First is "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ" and the "4th missionary". Please don't make the mistake of thinking that just because your not a full time missionary right now that they don't apply to you. These are talks that I plan on reading the rest of my life. When we experience joy, peace and change through the Lord, our desires are to share it with others, especially the ones we love. And that's what I wish to do now. I love you all and am so grateful for all that you have given me and for all the cards and presents. Don't worry about me or think that I am homesick or lonely because I am not home for the holidays, I am the one that is actually happy because of what I get to do everyday. As Elder Hoalland says " I am the one actually living". Love you all more than you can understand. Be Happy, smile and have some fun with those that matter most!

Love Elder Lunt

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Week 31 Early Christmas for us! PICTURES and SKYPING

Brian wrote on Monday telling us the people in Alaverdi that owned the cafe they would email at decided to leave to go to Russia with no plans of coming back. We were a little nervous we wouldn't get to talk to him for Christmas. He emailed again saying he would be on skype this morning. We were so beyond happy and excited to talk to him. He is doing great and it was touching to see him and hear his voice. He has developed a slight accent and was having trouble with his English at times :) It was every bit of awesome! We miss him so much but have never been more proud of him and the important message he is sharing as he brings people to Christ. We know he is doing what our Heavenly Father intended him to do!

Brian's testimony:

Elder Lunt's testimony in Armenian  (click on link)

Message to friends and family   (click on link)

Skyping with Brian

Mission President's letter

President's email
Well done! That simple saying summarizes beautifully the pursuit of excellence, which I would like to speak about today. Many of you probably recall the wonderful talk Elder Dallin H. Oaks gave at the last general conference. He spoke about “good, better, and best,” too, but his comments revolved around the quality of activities we choose to give our time to. My thoughts today will use this same phrase to consider the quality of our output as we strive to excel.

Have you ever stopped to consider that the pursuit of excellence is a principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ? It should even be a defining characteristic of members of His church.

Elder J. Richard Clarke has counseled and encouraged us to “accept the challenge to set a Mormon standard of quality, unique because of its excellence.” Today, I would like to reiterate that challenge and offer a few suggestions of how you wonderful students here at one of the Lord’s universities can accomplish this goal.

President Hinckley believes that striving for excellence is a God-given directive:

“The mind of man is the crowning creation of God, in whose express image man was made. The development of the mind is a companion responsibility to the cultivation of the Spirit, as set forth in the revealed principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.”
And, in case that was unclear, he later rephrased that thought and got right to the point:

“Don’t be a scrub! Rise to the high ground of spiritual, mental, and physical excellence. You can do it. You may not be a genius. You may be lacking in some skill. But so many of us can do better than we are doing now. . . Don’t muff your opportunities. Be excellent.”

Be excellent! But what does excellence mean, exactly? To “excel” means “to go beyond a limit.” I never really enjoyed, or even understood, calculus, but I know that going “beyond a limit” sounds really hard! College basketball coach, Rick Pitino, said that “excellence is the unlimited ability to improve the quality of what you have to offer.” Is it possible to improve infinitely? Well, right there is the Plan of Salvation, isn’t it? The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us that we CAN improve infinitely, line upon line and precept upon precept.

I believe that the magical mortal ingredient of excellence is actually ATTITUDE, or, in other words, will not skill. My mother, who was a wise and caring teacher, often said that, as far as her students were concerned, she appreciated “I will!” far more than “I.Q.” A five-year study of many top US athletes, musicians, and scholars recently found that “drive and determination, not great natural talent, led to their extraordinary success.” One prominent self-improvement guru described that “drive” as “an absolute sense of mission,” and considered it to be the common thread of all outstanding people. That “sense of mission” is often coupled with a willingness to sacrifice. Excellent people understand that there is a price to be paid for success. And the underlying element, supporting both a sense of mission and a willingness to sacrifice, is faith, both a person’s faith in their self and his or her faith in the Lord. Todd Skinner, a world-renowned mountain climber, summed up this faithful drive toward excellence when he said,

“We do not change the mountain, we change ourselves. We cannot lower the mountain, therefore we must elevate ourselves.”

Sometimes we put limits on what we think we can do, but our capacity for excellence is far beyond what we might currently imagine. One important way to begin to see our limitless potential is to surround ourselves with excellence. Excellence is inspiring and contagious. That’s the reason why records are constantly being broken, and why a certain team, group, or family might seem to possess a disproportionate number of outstanding members. We might think it has to do with genetics, or even a performance-enhancing drug, but, more often than not, it’s nothing as simple as DNA or steroids. Rather, there is a Spirit of Excellence that can inspire and motivate us. When we surround ourselves with excellence, when we study it and expose ourselves to it, that inspiration and encouragement can eventually begin to help us disregard what we might have considered stumbling blocks to success: A lack of natural talent or skill, an absence of resources, less than ideal circumstances, or even past experiences or failures.

These two women did exactly that, and I want to share their stories with you as a way of inspiring you to reach a little higher.

I imagine you’ve all read or heard at least a little about the woman on the left. This is Helen Keller. Helen was deaf and blind but became a great humanitarian around the world, traveling and giving speeches about everything from her history to human rights. When Helen was just a toddler, she contracted a raging fever. The doctors of the time diagnosed this as “acute congestion of the stomach and brain” but, whatever it was, it robbed this previously healthy child of both her sight and her hearing. Her parents were heartbroken at what had happened to their darling baby girl. Incredibly, though, no one could take Helen’s determination and will away from her, and, by the time she was eleven years old, she could position her hand with her middle finger on a person’s nose, her forefinger on their lips, and her thumb on their throat and thereby understand what they were saying, all without hearing any sound from their throat or seeing any movement from their mouths.

Helen went on to attend and graduate from Radcliffe University, the top women’s university of her day. Referring to her preparation to attend Radcliffe, one of her tutors commented that “her ambition and her confidence in her own power to master whatever she has once undertaken are two of her most marked traits of mind”. This same tutor, on learning she had passed the rigorous entrance exams, called her accomplishment “a triumph of ambition stimulated by obstacles”.

And Helen herself said, just prior to her graduation, “There is nothing good or right which we cannot accomplish if we have the will to strive”. Helen Keller obviously possessed that will, that “absolute sense of mission”, required to overcome her obstacles and achieve excellence.

But she didn’t accomplish these things alone. The other woman in the picture, on the right, is her teacher, Anne Sullivan. And Annie’s story and achievements are every bit as remarkable as Helen’s. Annie was the daughter of two penniless Irish immigrants. Annie and her younger brother, Jimmie, both suffered with disabilities: Annie was half blind from an eye disease, and Jimmie walked with a crutch because of a tubercular hip. When Annie was ten, her mother died, leaving her alcoholic and abusive father to care for the two children. Within a year, the two children were sent to the poorhouse in their small Massachusetts town. Living in the Tewksbury Poorhouse was a nightmare. There were rumors around town that the only thing the children had to play with there were the rats.

Annie and Jimmie clung tightly to each other. They were all they had in the world. Annie refused to allow them to be separated, as was the practice, so they were given a small bed to sleep in back in a dark corner next to what the residents called “the deadhouse,” the place where the bodies of those who died were kept while awaiting burial. This frightened the two children horribly but, as long as they were together, they would be alright. However, tragedy struck within about a year and Jimmie died one night from complications of a high fever. By the time Annie awoke, his body was gone, taken to “the deadhouse,” and she was alone.

Somehow, Annie survived the next few years by herself. Then one day, by sheer persistence and determination, she was able to convince a visiting authority that he should help her escape her awful fate and go to school. She succeeded and, within a year, found herself recovering from two eye surgeries and beginning school at the Perkins School for the Blind. At first, her schooling was even worse than life at the poorhouse. The students, and even the teachers, laughed at this 14-year-old who couldn’t even spell her own name. She recorded that she was actually “homesick” for Tewksbury!

But again, her persistence and determination paid off, and, a few years later, she graduated as the top student in her class. But her degree was certainly not the end of her pursuit of excellence. When she was 20 years old, a professor from Perkins asked if she would go and teach a poor handicapped child named Helen Keller. When Annie heard of Helen’s circumstances, she was positive she could not be of any use to her. She had no experience teaching a deaf or blind student, and certainly not one who was both! Fortunately for both of them, though, Annie needed the money so desperately that she took the job.

A short while after moving in with the Kellers, she wrote a letter to Mrs. Hopkins, back at the Perkins School. In it, she summarized her feelings at that point about helping Helen.

“Something within me tells me that I shall succeed beyond my dreams . . . I know that [Helen] has remarkable powers, and I believe that I shall be able to develop and mold them. I cannot tell how I know these things. I had no idea a short time ago how to go to work; I was feeling about in the dark, but somehow I know now, and I know that I know.”

It wasn’t long before Annie was able to break through Helen’s dark, silent world, through a teaching method solely of her own creation. Twenty years later, after earning a college degree with honors, Helen spoke to a fascinated audience, saying, “The doors of the bright world are flung open before me and a light shines upon me, the light kindled by the thought that there is something for me to do beyond the threshold.”

Both Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan had so many doors closed to them but their desires to excel opened those doors and allowed them to step over and beyond those thresholds. Each of them was able to accomplish far more than anyone would have ever thought possible. Each of them literally changed the world.

1 Corinthians 1:27 reads, “. . . God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.”

At times, each one of us feels like we have reached a closed door. We feel weak and incapable of opening the door and stepping over and past its threshold. But the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Plan of Salvation, teaches us and encourages us to do precisely that. Our individual pursuits of excellence can unlock, even fling open, those doors, and expose us to that bright light Helen had seen, the reality that there is something more we can do!

Let’s consider a simple diagram that may help clarify the pursuit of excellence. If we divide a triangle into three sub-sections, the supporting or base section can represent faith. Living in faith and righteousness is at the core of achieving excellence. Consider these scriptures:

“All things are possible to him that believeth.”

“For with God, nothing shall be impossible.”

“Seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”

Faith, believing in our own potential and believing that God can and will help us, is crucial to “crossing the threshold,” or going “beyond the limit.”

Elder Dallin H. Oaks has counseled, “Your faith will sustain you and give added meaning and increased accomplishment to your secular studies if you will live to deserve the blessings of the Lord.” Living faithfully and righteously is how we live to “deserve the blessings of the Lord.”

Remember the Stripling Warriors? We read in Alma that “they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness.” Do you remember the excellent outcome of their big battle? Every single one of them was injured, but not one died. Now that is going “beyond the limit.” They deserved, or had earned, the blessings of the Lord.

One of the greatest blessings of the Lord is the gift of the Spirit. 

“When we invite the Holy Ghost to fill our minds with light and knowledge, He . . . enlightens and enlivens the inner man or woman. . . We feel strengthened, filled with peace and joy. We possess spiritual energy and enthusiasm, both of which enhance our natural abilities. We can accomplish more than we otherwise could do on our own.”

I know without a doubt that when I am living in faith and righteousness, when I deserve the Lord’s blessings and the company of the Holy Ghost, I can do so much more than I could possibly do on my own.

I am currently enrolled in a family history course at BYU–Hawaii. Those who know me well know that I am “technically challenged.” For several years, I have been afraid to become involved in much of the newly developed computer technology that is so prevalent in genealogical research today. Through attending this class, however, I have begun to feel enlightened and empowered. I know that this is the Holy Ghost helping me learn. I am gradually overcoming my computer fears because I have faith, coupled with a strong and righteous desire, or will, to do family history research.

Annie Sullivan lived in faith, too. Though I know nothing of her religious beliefs, I can tell from reading the excerpts of her letters that this was a woman of faith. She said she had no idea of where to begin but “somehow I know now, and I know that I know.” I believe she was led by the Spirit on how to proceed to teach Helen.

The left portion of our triangle diagram represents that “sense of mission,” or will to succeed. This requires us to set goals. We all hear a lot about goal setting, especially in January, but let me point out that the surest way to miss your mark is to not even have one. And by setting that mark just slightly out of reach, slightly beyond our current ability, we learn firsthand that there is always room for improvement. We develop humility as we realize that we can always do a little better, especially with the Lord’s help.

Annie and Helen were world-class goal-setters. When Annie set her mind on finding a way out of the poorhouse and into a real school, she determined to do whatever it took, even if that meant literally throwing herself at the feet of a man of power and position. When Helen informed her parents that she would begin studying to pass the college entrance exams, they thought she had lost her mind. “Impossible!” they said.

Of course, setting a goal isn’t enough. We then have to make it happen. We should adopt President Kimball’s motto as our own and “Do it!” This is where the right side of the diagram comes into play: Sacrifice. Sacrifice means giving up something good now for something better in the future, and that is exactly what the pursuit of excellence is about.

Since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, mortals have been required to sweat. President Benson counseled us to “Work, work, work! There is no satisfactory substitute.”

Often, the difference between “work” and “hard work” is not as much as we might think. Champions don’t win by running twice as fast, or scoring twice as many points as their opponents. Usually they win by just a fraction of a second, or by just one extra goal. If we were to work just a little harder, say 15 minutes a day, over the course of a year, we would have worked an extra 91 hours!

Of course, hard work usually requires sacrifice.

Two secrets to hard work are to pay attention to the details and to form good habits. General Colin Powell recognized this when he said, “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” And Aristotle could see thousands of years ago that “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

By combining these three keys to excellence, living in faith and righteousness, setting goals to solidify our will or “sense of mission,” and sacrificing through hard work and attention to detail to reach those goals, we will be able to eventually succeed in whatever we are pursuing, but the eventually part can be discouraging. Patience will be critical. Remember, “the view of a champion, and the glory that surrounds him, must never be overshadowed by the long process of becoming one.” We love our instant messaging, we require instant relief, and we pay big money for instant satisfaction, but excellence does not come instantly. Persistence and patience are required.

We will experience setbacks, but they are one way we learn to improve. Remember that past failures do not predict future successes. My mother-in-law, Ann Coulam Wheelwright, firmly believed that failure was never in doing but only in quitting. With her, quitting was never an option. She considered failure as simply the price of growth and development and a chance to reflect, regroup, and then proceed with renewed vigor. The great painter, Whistler, once advised a friend to “hang on the walls of [his] mind the memory of [his] successes. . .” We can do the same and thereby find the endurance to keep trying and keep working until we reach our goals.

The Lord wants to help us reach those goals. He wants to reward us for our faithful living, and He wants to bless us for our righteous sacrifices. This is where grace comes into the picture. Grace can be simply described as the Lord making up the difference, after all we can do. And grace is what will take our best efforts to a higher level, what will make it possible for us to go “beyond the limit,” or over and far past the threshold of what we assume is possible. Grace is the Atonement at work in every aspect of our lives, including the pursuit of excellence.

Helen Keller said, late in her life, “When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.” Her dear friend and teacher, Anne Sullivan, certainly did her very best for Helen, and Helen knew firsthand what miracles had been wrought in her life because of it. And therein lies the real secret to the pursuit of excellence. When we do the best we can, we never know what miracles the Lord will see fit to bless us or someone else with because of our desire to excel.

President Hinckley has said:

“My plea is that we constantly take the position that every one of us can do better than we are doing now. We are in a constant search for excellence. That search must be continuous and never-ending. It must be consuming and unrelenting. Happily, such a lofty and crucial pursuit does not require genius. ‘What can I do better today so that the Lord can bless me?’ We must not sell ourselves short. We must make a little extra effort. We would be wise to kneel before our God in supplication. He will help us. He will bless us. He will comfort and sustain us. He will help us do more, and be more, than we can ever accomplish or become on our own.”

I am so grateful for all of the miracles the Lord has blessed me with in my life. I know that He lives and that He loves me and He loves you. I know that with His help and direction our lives can be filled with experiences and opportunities far beyond our mortal abilities. The Atonement is real and blesses each one of us when we allow it to change our hearts and our minds. I know that through His grace He will make our good better and our better best after all we can do. I am so grateful for that knowledge and assurance.

I pray that the Lord will bless each one of you in your striving for excellence, that, as President Hinckley has urged, we will all have this as a continuous and never-ending desire in each of our lives. 
Margaret S. Wheelwright 

As we work towards accomplishing our goals this week remember the most important thing to remember is that there is a name attached to each number, a daughter or son of our Heavenly Father. Our brothers and sisters. As I was sitting in Sacrament meeting today the thought occurred to me once again of the importance of finding strong families with one or more potential priesthood holders that will strengthen the stake.

As we strive for excellence, and achieve our goals that will be our gift to the savior this Christmas season and throughout the years to come.

We love you all and wish you the merriest of Christmases. That is totally up to you.
Be safe!

40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
Luke 2:40

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week 30

Dear friends and family, 
I'm doing good. It sounded like everything went well and the Navy did an honor guard for his service. I was more prepared for Grandpa's passing during this time than Josh's passing, so I am at peace with it, that being said it still hurts and takes consistent prayer to overcome. "He went home for Christmas", I like that simple, short statement. My companion is doing good ( I think) he is still very quiet I have gotten use to it, I didn't realize how lonely it was until Elder shields came on a split with me. It was good to have someone to talk to. I am really close to elder shields so it will be hard to see him go on Wednesday.  I love him and learned a lot from him during the split and the last 6 months here. As for Elder Burt and I, we have open communication but I feel like there is something he might be bottling up, he will be fine though, he's a good missionary. We have been extremely blessed with investigators, when Elder wood and I started we didn't have any and now we have been blessed with around 30, I would say over half are progressing towards baptism at their own rate but only a handful come to church . We are extremely busy and there could easily be getting another companionship here. The people here are different than the rest of Armenia, there is a lot more poverty here but the people are so humble. Well sorry its a short one. Love you guys and look forward to getting on Skype!

Love Elder Lunt

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

No more pictures :(

From Elder Lunt:
 I just heard that we are not suppose to be sending any pics home and they are pretty strict on it now, mostly because of Russia.  If people see someone is with the mormons they go beat them up (Never happened here only in Russia, but we fall under the same rules as them) if you could just take them off the blog, the ones with other Armenians and my companions. I dont know why and its a dumb rule but I will never understand why if I don't follow it. Love you guys and thanks for running things back home.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 29

Dear family and friends, I love hearing from all of you and the updates back home. This last Sunday we went to stake conference in Yerevan and listened to general authorities, we took many of the investigators and most of the members in 2 vans, it was hard gathering everyone but it all worked out for the most part. I had the chance to meet that guy Jorge who spoke in General conference and he's really cool and normal, I was going to get a pic with him but some Armenians needed something and he had to go. Anyways we are doing well, Elder Burt is a good man and good missionary. He gets stressed and worried with planning for the day and when things fall through. But I am working on it with him and he's doing better and better each day. He still doesn't talk much at all but i've just gotten use to it and It makes prayer that much better and talking with Armenians. I am grateful for this opportunity to be here and its indescribable how much I love these people that I serve. I will always remember this service here in this special area. I don't have much time left and my fingers are way cold so its hard to type fast but I love you all and miss you. Some quick things I want to share from Stake conf when Jorge (is that his name?) spoke. He said that our only motivation for doing the things we are doing needs to be because we love god. I really thought about this and am applying these words. He also said that we need to be doing 5 things to keep us strong, first daily thoughtful prayer. second daily scripture study and pondering and applying what we study. three church attendance all 3 hours. "I am a general authority and I need all 3 hours of church" were his exact words. fourth thing was accepting all callings and like my Dad always says leaving it better than you found it, no matter what your assigned to do. Fifth thing was pay full tithe and share the gospel. He promised so many blessing with each one of these and I promise you the same blessings. I cant say what it will be for you individual lives but I know the blessings will come. So many times people we teach wonder why things are so hard. Yes life is hard but when we don't do the things that make us happy and bring blessings its even worse. Mosiah 2; 41 is one I use a lot with people and blessings of commandments and Heleman 5;12 for staying strong against the world and satan when we do what we are asked. Love you guys and invite and pray that you guys do these things talked about. Love you all and am grateful for your impact and example that got me to this point. I am grateful for all the bday wishes and letters from all of you, I apologize that I don't have time to read  or respond to all but I am grateful for your thoughts and good wishes. Love you all.

Love Elder Lunt

Never thought I would say it...I am vegetarian, I don't eat the meat/try not too because of the nasty processing. This is the average meal fruits and veggies, this week a summer salad. Well love you guys!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 28

Dear all, 
I am doing great and have been really blessed. We had a good thanksgiving (beats mine last year with the army...) I thought it was neat that if we were really thankful we would show it by our works and thats exactly what we did this thanksgiving as we treated it as a normal day of missionary work and I fasted for this work, people and you. As i did so the blessings came, noticeable and others not so noticeable. We had our first baptism, and I she chose me to baptize her, it went well, her name is susuan. The longer I serve in this area, the more I realize that It was prepared  for me and that I was prepared for it. These great people that I have formed such close relationships with them, they are my type of people, good, humble, soft hearted people. I love them, and I hurt when they hurt and am happy when they are happy, I would do anything for most of them. I hate seeing the pain in sadness in their eyes from their heavy load of burdens but the joy and happiness I feel when I see the light and hope from this perfect message is one I cannot describe. 

I realize as I look on the promises from my Patriarchal blessing that the Lord knew about this my whole life, even long before that. And all that I have experienced in my life good and bad has given me experience for this. I feel that everything in my life has lead up to this point, here, now and serving these people. Its the first time in my life where I feel that I have reached my what I am capable of. All of this is part of his great plan.  The Lord has prepared them for me and me for them. So much that has happened in my life in the military and even before the military has prepared me to lead, love and learn and grow from these people. Its indescribable how inspired and divine His plan is and how everyday I notice so many things of why I am here at this time, and why I opened this area last transfer. I wish I could fully describe it to you, but it just builds my testimony even more. To know that the Lord is always aware of whats going on and that he always has a bigger plan and purpose for all of us in mind, that only we can accomplish through him. I realize that none of this experience and potential would have ever been reached if I had not turned everthing over to him and desiced to serve a mission. And as I can only describe so much all my thoughts feelings and testimonies in most of these letters, I simply say that he lives, loves and knows every single one of us. I know that if we turn everything over to him and "fear not" he will provide a way to accomplish all that he asks of us. 

This week I noticed Elder Burt ' himself and I felt that I needed to ask how he was doing and so I followed that prompting and he broke down and said that the grind of all this was taking its toll on him. I put everything on hold and we had a good man to man talk for over an hour. He said he felt a lot better and expressed his thanks. He is a great missionary and just a great person. Hes never said anything rude or bad about anyone. We are extremely different in likes and intretests, but same in purpose and I love him.  We get along great. And It was a good reminder to not over work him but not take the load he feels, I cant rob him of that opportunity to grow. The latest news on the building is that the paperwork is in moscow, and the decision is being made, I heard 2 or 3 weeks, but nobody really knows for sure. I am praying for sooner, to give these great people what they deserve. The work is great in our area and I am so close with so many of the members and investigators. I wish you could meet them. I taught guitiar lessons to a girl the other day, her dad is petros (the guy we rebaptized 2 months ago) It was fun jam out a little even though it sounded awful (out of tune). So many of the people we met with ask "when are you coming back". The spirit is with us and I told my great parents in a personal letter, that one of the best things of being a missionary is the power and capabitly you have is limitless, with and only through the Lord. I will share a quick experience this last week, as we were in a lesson, this new investigator said quote "whoa when you speak I feel something burning inside" Without hesistation through the spirit the words left my mouth "every time you meet with us, I promise you will feel this happy feeling you feel now". It was a neat experience and is just one of the many that happen daily. This is real, this is true, and its the only thing that will bring you real joy and lasting happiness in this hard life. I love you guys and pray for you all daily. Love your son, brother, friend, soldier and missionary. 

Elder Lunt

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Week 27

Hey everyone, sorry for no weekly letter this week. I ran out of time. I love you all and miss you. To be honest I have no idea what to do for skyping or calling in Dec but I will figure it out and ask around. Love you.

Elder Brian Lunt

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 26 - What a week

Where to start...Dear family and friends know that all is well and everything is good here. Know that I will always be ok during times like last week, but will be straight up too. I love you guys so much and miss you, I am excited to skype on Christmas and look forward to hearing your voices and seeing your faces. This last week has been great, we are working like crazy and seeing the results. Its been really neat, and I feel so accomplished at the end of each day, and just lay in bed at night and just think "wow", I am taking the role as bishop in an area so new to the church and speaking a foreign language that nobody knows ha. Its so interesting, that a year ago I would have never imagined this and 2 years ago maybe never wanted to. But i've thought a lot lately about how only through the Lord can we reach our full potential. Only when we give ourselves to the Lord, with our heart, mind and strength, and try to do our best that he can work miracles with us. I cant even imagine all the great people I wouldn't of met if I hadn't served a mission and all the relationships I wouldn't have and the lives that wouldn't be changed through me as an instrument in the lords hand. I love so many people here now and care for them so much. I can already see the change in myself and my Pat. blessing promises being fulfilled. I have learned so much about leadership and continue to learn so much as I lead this little group of 30 members. Things are on fire in this area. I am seeing much progress of when Elder wood and I started just now showing itself. We have been blessed with so many investigators, around 30 now. and many are progressing, many have baptismal dates. Theres not a feeling quite like it, to know that you were an instrument in the hand of the Lord to help bring them to the gospel, nothing in life I have done relates this kind of joy and happiness. I am doing good with the language, some might say fluent, I still don't think so. But I understand most of whats being said or at least the general Idea, and from there can make the connection. In lessons I understand close to 100 percent since it is all gospel related words. I am continue to work hard on the language every day, 10 words daily and reading from the book of Mormon daily in Armenian, and always listening for new words to write down. The Armenians are the best teachers for many things, and language aside they teach me so many things daily.I am picking up Russian words and know about half the alphabet.I feel like my english is getting bad and sometimes I just get confused with how to say things in english and have to think a little to long about it, its annoying. Anyways, the gift of tongues is real and the lord will never give you something to do, unless he knows you can arise to your potential through him and accomplish it. We are working so hard. My comp sometimes falls asleep standing on the marshutnis and aftobuses (old vans from soviets) its kinda funny and I cant help but crack a smile with all the Armenians looking at him weird then looking to me for an explanation haha. He's doing good, I am trying to help him find his confidence and come out of his shell he's doing better everyday. I would never kick it with him back on the block haha but he's a good guy. I continue to run in the mornings and work out with bands (the poor mans bo-flex) I still hold the title of the fastest runner in the mission and plan on keeping that haha but for reals though, cant be coming back with relief society arms ;) . Anyways as we have worked so hard we have seen so much success and the help of many of our members. I have seen so many miracles daily and just cant express to you how true this church is. I am so grateful for this opportunity to reopen this area and for these people. I am so close to so many of them. I found a building last week and met with the land lord and had a good meeting with him, and I am organizing a meeting with the land lord and stake president on Tues. Things are great and continue to stay so busy which is great. Its scary how fast time is going especially with hard work. Sundays are great and I continue to lead sacrament and do things that a bishop would do in the area, collect tithing and other things, list goes on. My comp is helping me out and the senior couple. I delegate the load with helps a lot. I am so grateful to be here and love this, every second of it, no matter how hard it may be at times. Or how much I miss you all. Its about time to go. I love you guys an miss you and pray for you daily many times.  You all have a part in this mission in helping me to help these people. Love you all

Love Elder Lunt

P.S. Dad your plan of salvation chart has changed my life..I feel like you made that for me, and I know its so inspired. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Week 25

Hey everyone.
Sorry for not writing the last week. Its been a tough week due to a close cousin/ friend passing away in America. I already told many of my close relatives that sometimes its hard to focus in the down time of things which in my area isn't a lot thank goodness, when things back home are not going so well. I have spent a lot of time fasting and praying about my cousin.  I have always had faith in the plan of salvation but I never really studied it or knew it for myself. I have a big testimony of prayer. And this testimony is why I am out here. I am grateful for this and have been praying so much for my cousin to know if he is really happy and what he is doing. There have been a few other things that are going on at home that I wont share due to their privacy but I could use the prayers right now. Email is getting old, I cant really share even  a fraction of what's going on through email due to time and how un-personal it is. Its getting pretty lonely sometimes here, being an hour away from everyone and my comp is just a quiet guy, getting better but still really quiet.  But I am good just thinking of the core reasons why I am here and trying to get in as many lessons as I can. Because that is the only time I am happy and have Joy, not fun always but joy. I feel so good during lessons and once we just get out of the house and into lessons, or talk to people on the streets. Anyways i'm good, love you all and miss ya.

Elder Lunt

Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 23

Hey everyone! 
Its been a great week. It took some getting use to and lots of prayers but I was able to adjust in a few days to the new busy circumstances. This last week was great. It was a busy week. I wish I could tell you guys all that is going on in a week, I know I always say this, but I wish you all could see the miracles in just one week of my mission. I continue to carry a lot of the weight, but like my Dad suggested, I am over time making my comp/Elder Burt more and more independent as I delegate some of the weight of group leader to him and one of the senior couples (the Haglins). I still am doing quite a bit, but I have never noticed such a miracle. I feel like a lot of the times its not even me doing this. The gift of tongues is real. I noticed an over night difference the day I became a trainer! My understanding, speaking, and confidence in the language I feel like is doing well. But its a constant effort and I am always working on the language and improving, saying things how they say it. They absolutely love it. The Lord puts a lot on use at times but he knows whats best for us, always! And I try to always accept his will and timing. Its crazy to think that if I didn't serve a mission what I would be doing right now, and all the people I would never have gotten to develop relationships with or grow myself. I have such a strong relationship with so many people. Many of them call me just to talk sometimes. I love these people and have learned so much about them in the past 3 months and have become so close to so many. Ah I wish I could tell you guys about all of them and all that happens, better yet I wish you could be here. I don't have a lot of time left so I have to wrap things up. But I am so grateful for this opportunity to be here. I love you all so much, its the hardest part of a mission in my own opinion is just the time missed with my family and friends. Love you all and feel the strength and power of your prayers daily. You all don't realize how much you help and have a part in this missionary work as well. Thank you from me and these people.

Love Elder Lunt

P.S. My visa is under investigation haha because Russia still has a lot of influence here (they asked our land lord questions about me and some other funny things.) I've only heard a few things but I would guess American G.I.'s aren't too well like by Putin and his boys. Eh the Lords got my back. But your prayers are always great! Love you all!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Week 22 Oh boy!

Wow what a week. Well, I got a new companion, his name is Elder Burt and he's straight out of the MTC. So yes, I am training out of my training, and I am group leader of this area (which is pretty much like a bishop for the area). It is the same area; Alaverdi, the one my trainer and I opened 3 months ago, and I cant express to you how hard my mission has got in a matter of a week's time. Yes the language is hard, but I have been so blessed with the gift of tongues, understanding and confidence. Sometimes it scares me with the stuff I say and the confidence I say it with. Language aside, everything is so so hard right now. I spend hours on my knees through out the day. I feel like I am doing everything because I am. I plan the days, I teach the lessons to investigators and my companion/language, I talk to people on the streets, I manage the money, I cook, I clean...the list goes on, hopefully only for now.  I am pulling the weight for two people. I am straight out of my training, I can take care of myself but a living breathing 19 year old...It's hard, let alone teaching him and helping him with the language. Especially because we are polar opposites. He doesn't talk. Like at all. I think he's said maybe a few things in the past week, besides language and culture questions. It's hard being the only companionship in Alaverdi which is an hour away to the closest missionaries when your companion is socially not with it. It has been an extremely busy but lonely week. I have never felt like there has been such a weight on my back, I physically can feel it at all times. On the first day together last Thursday, I woke up and felt sick with how much was on my shoulders, and some mornings I wake up just worried for the plans to work out and for investigators to progress, the list goes on, but I don't show a bit of worry to my comp. or anyone else i'ts all between me and my Father in Heaven. I spend A LOT of time on my knees. And by 10:30 I am exhausted. I am trying to balance my time and figure things out so that I can help my trainee, but also help my self so that I will be in a state where I can help others. whether that be language studying or spiritual nourishment.  My trainee is a good guy, and very smart. But like I said, he is extremely quiet and that makes things really hard. It makes things very lonely being in out in Alaverdi. Especially with how close Elder Wood and I were. And I realize how much I miss  him. That being said I look forward so much to all of our meetings with investigators and members so much. I have developed such a stronger connection and love with members now and investigators that I didn't have before. Many of them have said very kind things to me about how I am one of their favorite missionaries, and that I speak so well for how long I have been here, (it's just because Elder Wood isn't here anymore haha), he was one of the best speakers in the mission. And I speak like I own the place... But at the end of the day I always tell them that without God I am nothing, really though its not me. On Saturday night I gave out talks to the members and called all the members and investigators to come to church the next day, and planned the day, and cooked, etc. I conducted sacrament like a bishop does or one of his counselers. Its kind of funny a 19 year old missionary is running a sacrament of around 20 people depending on the week, that are older than him. Sometimes I just go to bed at night and think wow, what the heck did I just do. I couldn't do any of this with out Heavenly Father. Although this is one of the hardest things I have done, I am grateful for this opportunity and I know that in times like these is when the growth takes place. I have never felt so much help from the Lord in my life until now. As Nephi said, the Lord doesn't give commandments to his children, unless there is a way to accomplish it. And I have noticed that so much. I sometimes scare myself with what I say and how I say it. But I know it's not me, that these are all gifts and tender mercies from the Lord. I know that he is very aware of all of us and all of our needs. I have seen his help so much this last week and continue to see his help daily. I love you all so much and miss you guys more than I ever have.

 Love Elder Lunt

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Week 21. Drasitzdel (Russian for how are you...doesn't really translate)

Hello to everyone! I hope everyone is doing good and life is going well. I don't really even know where to start, But this last week was a great week. Things are getting pretty crazy, there is a lot of hype in our mission right now, because so many missionaries go home this transfer which means that there will be a lot of new people in the mission, many as in 16 new missionaries and 9 of them are Elders, in a mission that only has a total of 23 elders (just in Armenia). What im saying, is that the mission will be very young very soon. After next transfer, the oldest missionary will have only been here for a year and 3 months (our transfers are 3 months) which will be a very young mission. I am not worried about, the Lord is in control and we have good leaders. I will tell you all that happens to me next week, I will most likely be staying in Alaverdi which I am very excited about and the rest will be told to me tonight in a few hours. I will write you guys all about it next week. My companion, Elder Wood goes home on Friday, he will be missed. He is one of the best missionaries in the mission and one of the best speakers. He has taught me so much. And not once did we ever get in even one argument or disagreement. He is a pride less disciple of the Lord and I am honored to have been able to serve with him.We have been blessed in finding many less actives that were just names on a list before. And now several are committed to coming to church, and happy to have the gospel back in this area. Its sad to think how many people were lost and didn't know where to go, after the area closed 3 years ago. We have had a great time this last full week together and we have worked very hard this transfer. My companion says that he thinks its probably the hardest hes worked in his mission. We were able to watch conference on Saturday and Sunday, and I really enjoyed the talks. Its funny to hear a lot of the things that we have the opportunity to preach everyday. My favorite was the talk on Saturday about spiritual confidence by that German guy name Jorge? And as always my favorite was Elder Holland's talk. I love that quote of I may not be my brother's keeper but I am my brother's brother. I gave a talk in District meeting today on Charity and its so interesting that without charity we are nothing. I said in the meeting that Charity is the basis of all Christ like attributes. You can have faith and hope and all these great things. But with out charity it doesn't mean anything to God. Charity is but Faith, hope, and patience in action. With charity pride can not exist. I also taught that it is a gift that we must continually pray for and work for by applying these things. We can hear all these great talks and read great scriptures but if we don't apply it, none of it does any good, and we all have the opportunity to apply charity every day. Well family and friends, I can see myself changing so much as the days and weeks go by, its interesting to see my Patriarchal blessing coming about. However to be honest, I find more happiness in seeing others change and coming closer to Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. That is where the true happiness comes from. The Gift of tongues is REAL and all other gifts from God for those who WORK for it! I have been so blessed as i have struggled diligently to study all the time and to never miss an opportunity. Not that it matters but I am passing up other missionaries in the language and confidence in speaking, that have been here a transfer or 2 above me due to my diligence. I have never been the smartest but I have always been the one of the hardest working and that is what gets you places in life and in the gospel. And I owe this to my great parents and my uncle larry and my grandpa for teaching me how to work. I dont know what I did in the pre-mortal life to be blessed with great family and friends that I have. It just makes me think of the quote "And by the grace of God I go". I have developed many relationships with people that I love so much here and that I wish many of you guys could meet. In closing I just want to say that I know that God and Jesus Christ love us and they are aware of all that we are going through, I know they live and they want us to return to them. I know that their love and wisdom is so uncomprehendingly greater than ours. And lastly I would not rather be any where else in the world than where I am at right now doing what I am doing. Nothing brings greater joy and happiness than this work full time. Notice I said joy and happiness, not loads of fun. They are 2 very different things, I didn't realize before my mission. At times its not always fun but nothing in life I do will have greater significance or bring the joy and happiness this work brings. I love you all very much and hope that everyone is getting what they deserve out of life. I know I always say this but my love for you grows more and more each day and I love you all more than you know.

Love your friend, grand kid, nephew, and only son

Elder Lunt

Pictures of old churches on the Plateau of Sarahart

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Christmas letters/packages

*In case anyone wants to send letters/envelopes/packages in time for Christmas:

We are so grateful that your son is serving in the Armenia Yerevan Mission.  He is such a good missionary!  As far as questions on the Christmas package,  the smaller 4# package usually makes it a little quicker.  The mail is still very unpredictable with packages taking anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months.  It might be wise to send his Christmas package as soon as possible.  If it says, "Open on the 25th" we will know to save it for him and hand it out on our Christmas program. 

You would be so proud of how well Elder Lunt has transitioned to missionary life.  We're sure his military background contributes to that and we're sure his family has a lot to do with that as well.

Thank you and much love,
President and Sister Carlson
Armenia Yerevan Mission

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 20

Hello everyone! 

This week has been great. We are seeing great success in our area. We have been extremely blessed, I have said this many times but I will say it again, this area was so ready to receive the gospel again. We have been blessed with more investigators than we can teach in a week. And 5 have baptismal dates. I am humbled to have the opportunity to reopen this area especially in my training. I am developing so many great friendships and a love for these people that I would have never thought possible, without these experiences. I have already said this to a few family members, but perhaps one of the hardest things about serving a mission is not being able to fully tell you what has happened each week, and all the experiences, other than through email. I wish all of you could meet these people and how amazing they are. They aren't any other people like them in the world, you would just have to meet them, It cant be explained. To say I love them is an understatement, Its so much bigger than that now. I am just so impressed with their honesty and caring hearts despite some of their hard;poor circumstances. Yesterday, at church I conducted Sacrament meeting, since my companion and I fulfill the role of bishop's in sac meeting here. I bore a testimony and then invited everyone else to do so. It went well. Its a little bit stressful sometimes because some of the members don't understand the importance of sac meeting and will talk or make comments or come up and grab the bread and eat it, the list goes on ha its great. But it went very good. Something interesting happened this morning that I thought I would share with you. I was having a hard time this week being patient with some of the people and our members, because not only do some of our members not help us, they hurt us pretty bad and drive away investigators. Despite that I was just getting a little bit stressed for something that might happen next transfer (which I will tell you if it does). Anyways, the point is, the last few days I haven't been able to feel the spirit with me and that comfort and peace that it brings. I didn't know what was going on. So as usual when i feel like I need a spiritual recharge, I read the talk the 4th missionary that my brother in law Jake gave me before I left. I started reading it during morning personal study and I prayed for forgiveness for whatever I was doing that was stopping me from feeling the spirit. I prayed throughout reading the talk to incorporate its teachings into my life. I just asked for help and poured my heart out each time I prayed. Afterwards I sat up in my chair and started to continue to read the talk and i just felt the spirit immerse me like water. I was so overcome and its a good thing my comp was in the other room because I may or may not have cried ;). I just felt the love and comfort of the Savior that I had been longing for the past few days. I was assured that the Savior knew i was doing my best and withholding nothing from him despite my weaknesses. It was an amazing experience and such peace of mind that the savior is aware of all of us and loves all of us. Just as fast as the spirit came and stayed for about 2 min it left. And I felt so refilled with light and a recharge that I needed. I got on my knees afterwards and offered a prayer of gratitude. Well its that time. I love you guys and hope your enjoying life.

Love Elder Lunt

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Week 19

Hey everyone! Its sounds like all is well and everyone one is doing good and keeping busy. I am as well, the work in our area of Alaverdi and Sarahart/ few villages is on FIRE! It is currently the newest/pioneer stages of the mission, but its also the most successful in the whole mission. All thanks to the lord's blessings.  On average the lord is blessing us with about an investigator a day, and about 6 ish to 7 which is a pretty uncommon compared to Armenia's past and other areas, my companion (elder wood) says hes never seen an area like this. All thanks to the lord's blessings, the president is very happy, but we just do our part and the lord blesses us with the rest. There is no secret, other than just doing your best each day, so that you can look at the end of the day and know you gave it your all. Sometimes there are blessings daily that we see like in Alaverdi.  And other times, there are blessings that you dont see, or trials of your faith,when it seems like you're efforts are going unnoticed to the Lord. What I am trying to say is that there are plenty of great, consecrated, obedient missionaries here that each week have to report a zero to the president. My companion and i have just been blessed with an amazing opportunity to re-open this area and be instruments in the hands of the lord. Abinadi only had one convert he never saw baptized after a life time of preaching, and ammon had thousands. Its important to know that no work is ever un-noticed to the Lord.The group is growing fast, first week 6 people at church, last week 32, not counting us.... we should have a building soon, rather than at a members house, that will help. We have about over 20 investigators over 10 are progressing, so my companion and i are spread pretty thin, and keep extremely busy. This week we had the opportunity to teach and re-baptize the old branch president who was excommunicated in 2010 which led to the eventual closing down of this area a few months later, due to no priesthood. He got back from Russia because of no work, and we were cleared by the 1st presidency to teach him and re-baptize him. He was truly repentant and so glad to have a second chance.There was a special spirit at each lesson we taught and at the baptism, one i couldn't describe unless one were present, we decided to have the bishop in Vanadazor (1 hour away from Alaverdi) baptize him to make a good connection with this man, rather than with us, for when we have to leave. I love this place and never want to get transferred out, the people are friendlier here than any where else in the country and the members and investigators are so prepared and elect, (and the area is very pretty which is always a bonus). The language is coming a long great, thanks to heavenly father. I have never worked harder for anything though, and its showing quick. I try to never miss an opportunity to study words, grammar, etc. Most of the time we are so busy that I have to study when we are walking from place to place. This week we had a zone confrenece meeting and president said a lot of good things that are worth sharing. He said that most of us do way too much without asking for the lord's help, and we wonder why things are so hard at times. What I took away from this was we need to pray a lot more than we do (a lot more than I did before my mission), not just for meals or when you need something, but to pray and thank the lord for all that has been given to you and to seek help, guidance and comfort through out our day. Some thing else was said, that most people here and even back home dont read the scriptures every day, or attend church every week for all 3 meetings, and we wonder why life is so hard at times. Most people here and back home just simply dont do the things that bless us and they wonder why they are not blessed. Sad to say that it as is simple as it sounds, because it is. Its just something to keep in mind. Part of the reason I feel we have been blessed so much in this area and me with the language is because I always strive to get rid of the excuses or whatever it may be that keeps me from doing what i need to do to receive blessings. I have heard lately a lot of hype about "exact obedience" which sounds great. But many of us here have a hard time with that "exact" part here. Obedience is not obedience if it is not exact. I know that many of you reading this right now, are older and wiser than me, however i feel like many of us forget a lot of the basic, simple truths. WHEN WE ARE OBEDIENT WE ARE BLESSED, that is it. If you don't think so, try it for a week and watch your life change like mine did. Well I am about out of time, and wish I could say more. In closing, I just want to challenge all those reading this, to be "obedient", go to church (all 3 meetings if you have that opportunity), pray through out the day, and to read scriptures daily. These are things to think about and if your not doing them...do them, and watch your life change. Love you all more than you know and pray for you all by name daily.

 Love Elder Lunt

P.S. please excuse my grammar, I don't correct a lot due to time, I promise I can still speak English.